ALBANY — Debbie's Kitchen, a Lark Street-area institution for sandwiches, soups and baked goods since 1985, minus a hiatus or two, is closing for good after business on Saturday.
On Thursday morning, founder Debbie Klauber said, "It just got so hard" after the COVID-19 crisis forced restaurants to adapt to takeout and cast a general sense of uncertainty over the hospitality industry and society as a whole. Klauber stayed open for several weeks, closed for a few days last week and returned for three final days.
"It started to give me pause," said the 63-year-old Klauber. "Was I doing a service by staying open or a disservice by not being as safe as I could be?"
Hours through Saturday will be 10 a.m. to about 3 p.m. Fare includes Klauber's signature sandwiches and soups, brownies and other sweet baked goods, quiches and additional goodies, as dictated by whim and ingredient availability.
"My offerings are abundant but not to be pinpointed," said Klauber. (A creation for the final days is a salad of lentils, pumpkin seeds and cranberries.) Visit the business' Facebook page, , for details.
"The fat lady is really singing this time," said Klauber. Continuing with the music theme but switching references, Klauber said, "What did Kenny Rogers say? 'You gotta know when to fold 'em.' You should go out with a sense of dignity and pride."
Klauber started on Lark Street, from 1985 to 1995, then moved around the corner to the present location, 456 Madison Ave., where she held court for a total of 15 years before selling, in 2010. Another operator ran the business as Debbie’s Kitchen for five years, and the building then housed Timmy’s Chinese Cuisine, which closed abruptly after a short run.
While she was away from the bakery-cafe, Klauber spent most of her time in Belize, returning to the Capital Region and her 体彩app官方网站 base in Ravena, where she made desserty things under the name and worked some summers at Siro’s in Saratoga Springs.
She reopened Debbie's Kitchen in October 2018, partnering with Patrick Noonan. He owns El Loco Mexican Cafe, directly across the street from 456 Madison, and is chairman of the the Lark Street Business Improvement District.
"With the world in the state it is, he really needs to focus on other things, and I know that now is right: It's time to end Debbie's Kitchen," said Klauber. She said she expects to take time off, then revitalize Pirate Girl treats and ramp up cakes, pies and other baked goods for private clients and, possibly, another storefront business. Maybe.
"I was roaming independently and entrepreneurially for all the years I was away," said Klauber. "But now, with things as they are, this space has become too hard to maintain, labor is expensive, food has skyrocketed. I will re-emerge; I'll be around. I'll keep doing my shtick and conjuring up orders, the way I always have."